Comprehensive Life Resources, a nonprofit organization that provides behavioral health services and support for youth and adults in Pierce County, will receive the Emerald Award today as part of the Tacoma Pride Festival. The award is given annually to an organization for their service to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and allied (LGBTQA) community, particularly for service in the past year.
Tacoma Pride Festival is a program of the Rainbow Center and is sponsored by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and the city of Tacoma.
“Our committee chose Comprehensive Life Resources for this award for several reasons – one of which is its operation of a shelter that gives LGBTQA youth a safe refuge where they feel respected and included, and where they have access to resources to help them navigate the challenges they are facing,” said Tacoma City Council Member Ryan Mello.
The Beacon Center in Tacoma serves youth and young adults experiencing homelessness by providing basic needs and life skill development that enables them to create paths of self-sufficiency and independence. Drop-in is open to people between 12 and 24 who are either experiencing homelessness or are at risk of experiencing homelessness. The shelter is open to people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are experiencing homelessness or just need a safe place to sleep.
“It is important for us to have resources like Comprehensive Life Resources in Pierce County who can provide services to some of the most vulnerable communities in our county,” said Rainbow Center Executive Director Manny Santiago. “When these services are both compassionate and competent, it makes us feel like our community really is cared for.”
“To be recognized by the LGBTQ community is a huge honor,” said Comprehensive Life Resources CEO Kim Zacher. “It says our agency’s guiding principles are being seen and felt, and we’re supporting highly vulnerable people in our community who need help.”
“We know LGBTQ youth and young adults are more likely to experience homelessness than non-LGBTQ youth and young adults, often due to family rejection. As a result, they experience higher rates of sexual violence, and are more likely to attempt suicide,“ Zacher said. “We are thankful to be part of a support network that tries to change that. That network enables LGBTQA youth and young adults to feel part of a community that values and respects them.”
One of those network partners, is the Oasis Youth Center in Tacoma, a drop-in, support, and resource center for LGBTQ youth and young adults throughout Pierce County.
“Comprehensive Life Resources has given Pierce County a huge gift through its operation of the Beacon Center,” said Oasis Youth Center Executive Director Seth Kirby. “They’ve modeled true allyship and have developed a shelter program that is inclusive, inviting and welcoming to all youth and young adults in our community.”
The Tacoma Pride Flag Raising Ceremony & LGBTQ Community Awards event took place at 4:30 on July 12, in the lobby of the Pantages Theater in downtown Tacoma. This gathering is the night before the festival’s main event, Tacoma Pride, and is free and open to the public. Tacoma Pride Festival is online at www.tacomapride.org.